Martin Luther King Jr. poster, essay contest first place winners

Jailen J. Gallegos-Pollard, First place, Highland Elementary

High School
First place
Aarti Attreya
Clovis High School
11th grade

The Display of Value

Throughout history, many great souls have worked for the progression of humankind. Among them was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Through his relentless, yet peaceful, efforts, he helped to achieve equality amongst all citizens of the United States, even those who were not, at the time, considered citizens, but property to be owned, used, and thrown away once they served their purpose.

It is unfortunate, however, that such an honorable individual does not, even today, receive the respect he rightfully deserves. Interracial marriages and friendships would not be accepted — would not be possible, had he not shown to us his once impossible dream of a nation in which all were accepted as one race — one collective group of the same person, despite the obvious physical differences. We do, in our own town of Clovis, have a street called Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. This is a display of respect, but I wonder how many people sincerely regard the name on a daily basis in a situation other than giving friends directions to the clothing outlet selling jeans at 20 percent off the purchase price.

Admiring Dr. King has become somewhat of an obligation; students study him only briefly in class; perhaps he was lucky enough to have a paragraph written about him; but no one bothers to delve deeper into his demanding situation. No one bothers to appreciate the fortitude, the strength of heart a being needs to bury a way of life that that an entire nation — the most prosperous nation — has adopted, and replace it with an entirely new system. It is difficult today to persuade someone to watch one movie instead of another, but not many people “waste” their time to stop and consider how impossible it may have seemed to convince hundreds of thousands of people to change their minds about segregation — a normal part of life that did not appear to be unorthodox or morally unjust during Dr. King’s epoch.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. earned us a day off of work and school — a special day to go out to eat, to see the newest movie, or to try that new “chocoholic” ice cream sundae. Of course, it does not immediately occur to us that it was Dr. King who gave us this possibility to eat lunch or watch that film in the same vicinity as our fellow African-American citizens. Why? This is simply because we have grown so accustomed to it. Racial prejudice, fortunately, has become so uncommon that it is no longer even considered an issue in the majority of modern society. We must, however, remember to appreciate Dr. King’s work and be grateful for the equal, unbiased lives we lead today.

Perhaps the greatest gift that Dr. King has given us, however, is not freedom, but hope. As an ordinary man who found something in his life worth fighting for, despite consequences like jail and angry non-supporters, Dr. King showed not just America, but the world, how much difference one person can make. Even as a member of that discriminated minority of African Americans, Dr. King fought for the rights of his people — fighting in a way that did not punish, but reasoned with, the discriminators — extending an open hand of love, not a closed fist of hate. In a world still full of many unresolved issues, children are the hope for a better future. As the future operators of this nation, it is up to us to take inspiration from Dr. King and find it within ourselves to make a difference for the benefit of others. If we feel something is wrong, we must speak, we must act, and we must celebrate Dr. King’s determination and instill his motivation into ourselves.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once proved to us that we are all brothers and sisters, and as brothers and sisters, it is our duty to help each other, to provide for each other’s well-being. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a time to celebrate a man who beat the odds, and to celebrate ourselves for the power we have to make a difference. This day is a day to open our eyes to see, to awaken our minds to think, to stir our souls to act. This day is “A Day On, Not a Day Off.”

Middle School
First place
Isaiah L. Carver
Eighth grade

A Day on Not a Day off

Martin Luther King was born January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. King was a civil rights and preacher. He (wrote) “I have a dream.” In 1929 blacks had rules to follow because of racism, drink out of a different fountain than blacks, they had to sit in the back of the bus, blacks had to go to separate schools than whites.

Rosa Parks sat on a bus one morning to get to where she was going. Then there came some whites and they saw her in the bus and the whites did not like it so they decided not to get on the bus unless she got off so a white man said get off n…. and so she refused to give up her seat to a white man. So the cops took her to jail for a couple of days, the blacks didn’t like it.

One day two blacks at a coffee shop were getting through from ordering, and the whites didn’t like the blacks at their coffee shop, so then the whites started to call the blacks names. And then whites started to hit the blacks while they were sitting. The whites threw the blacks on the ground and started hitting and kicking them, families and friends found out and did not like what had happened to their kind.

The blacks were very upset they weren’t thinking twice what would happen to them, so the blacks started a riot for what had happened. The state troopers and the fire department told the blacks to go back home for they had to use (caution). The blacks had refused to follow their orders. So the fire department was told to spray as they got closer to the fire department sprayed water at the blacks to keep them (from) getting closer.

As men, women and children had gotten closer to the whites, the state troopers and the police started to beat the blacks until they either left of couldn’t go on anymore they had gotten “brutally beaten”.

Dr King didn’t want there to be no more abuse, slavery and most of all no more (RACISM) … … … … … “EVERYBODY SHOULD BE TREATED EQUALLY.”

Elementary schools
First place
Alex Smith
Sixth grade
Berry Elementary School

Remember, Celebrate, Act “A Day On, Not a Day Off”

Martin Luther King Jr. was a brilliant man. He attended college at the age of fifteen. Then he married Coretta Scott and had four children. Dr. King became a minister and fought against segregation. He did not believe in the separation of the two colors. He was a leader and fought for freedom and justice.

Colored children were not allowed to go into the same school as white children. Even as adults, colored people were not granted the right to enter a restaurant and be served while white people occupied the restaurant. Colored people also had to sit in the back of the bus. If there were no seats available for a white person, a colored person had to give up their seat. Dr. King then wrote books about equality. Because of his beliefs, a horrible person bombed his house.

Dr. King made speeches to over twenty-five thousand people. Then he won the Nobel Peace Prize. He had helped change the unfair laws. Martin Luther King Jr. helped people to work together to make changes to better our world. Dr. King fought with his words, not his fists. While doing this, he was arrested thirty times because he fought for what was right. Unfortunately, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 04, 1968 while standing on the balcony at the Lorraine Motel. He paid the ultimate price because of the hatred of others. I will remember Martin Luther King Jr. as a leader, a believer, and a hero.